The Husband:

I think the New York Times said it better than I ever could. (That’s why they’re the New York Times and I’m not.)


“It’s possible that American Idol viewers’ selection of Kris Allen over Adam Lambert says something about the mood and mores of the country, that viewers are too conformist to anoint a sassy, androgynous individualist. Then again, maybe not: Mr. Allen’s victory may merely reflect the voters’ conventional taste in pop music…Mr. Allen never fell out of character as the humble, earnest country boy from Arkansas.”


Oh, and besides Jordin Sparks (who is still from a Red State in the West), every single Idol winner has been from the South. It’s a hard trend to beak.

I don’t hate Kris Allen. If you’ve been following the show along with us, you know that I grew to love him. But I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed at the outcome. But the above quote shows that there were a lot of reasons Kris won, and some are more valid than others.

A formidble set of opponents.

A formidble set of opponents.

Personally, I think it comes down to more how Adam lost than Kris won. At the beginning of the Top 12/13, I don’t think anyone thought Kris would ever beat Adam, so here are a few items of interest.

Adam became too safe of a choice:

Yes, the wildly flamboyant and sexual Adam was actually too safe of a choice, the complete opposite of what a lot of people may cry about today, that America was being homophobic. (I think that while some Kris voting may be due to this very thing, it will turn out to be a minor blip on the bigger scale.) The bigger problem, and this was way more subconscious, is that everybody assumed Adam was going to win. Simon went on Ellen and said so. Entertainment Weekly did a friggin’ cover story on him most of the way through the competition. The judges kept on praising him until it felt like the end was preordained. Everybody said the same thing. And Adam, well, he did stop surprising us right around disco week. He was consistently passionate and bombastic, a competent performer. And he was humble about it. But after a while we could already imagine the song before he sang it. Which is a great trait, but not for the attention-craving America. America wants to reward the underdog, to keep things interesting, and Adam stopped being dangerous. He stopped reaching for the “holy shit” factor.

Adam was not Danny:

Last week, we already saw that Adam had lost his considerable lead over the rest of the competition when we were told that only one million votes separated first place and second place, while the remainder was lost on a losing Danny Gokey. But where did Danny’s votes go this week? They went to the other good ol’ American boy, Kris. And that pulled Kris ahead. If we’re going by DialIdol, Kris did not beat Adam by very much, so I’m surprised that some of Danny’s votes may have actually worked their way into Adam’s number — perhaps those who liked Danny for his voice and didn’t give a shit about his story or spirituality, but at the same time were originally afraid to vote for Adam — but I’m willing to bet that the majority of them went to Kris or disappeared outright. Kris was more Danny than Adam could ever be, whatever that may mean to you.

Adam strutted too much:

Yes, I actually believe that if Adam had performed “Mad World” like he did originally, sitting down and letting the music and his spoke speak for themselves, instead of descending a staircase into way too much fake fog, he could have won. He definitely could have gotten Simon to agree that he won all three rounds on Tuesday instead of merely two, but he had to indulge in his theatricality. Which is fine. But I think it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, just like he got into the Bottom Two for performing “Feeling Good” in roughly the same way. But this is saying that his performance tactics are bad. No, they’re not. They’re fucking great. But not everybody is like me, and, for some indiscernible reason, there will still be millions of people out there who outright hate musicals and drama. (Then why are they watching television? I’ll never understand it.)

But let’s get down to the bottom of this: Adam is a much better singer than Kris will ever be. You know this to be true. He was damn near perfect. Oh, and that scream you Adam haters consistently complain about like a broken record? That is a perfect rock wail, a glorious sound you can find in all of the best rock ‘n roll music for the last 50 years. A release of sheer force, emotion and performance. All your complaints really tell me is that you don’t listen to rock music, and you wouldn’t know a good rock singer if it kicked you in the nuts and spit whiskey and glitter in your eye.

But Kris is good, and he’ll make a good album for 19 Entertainment. As I said, “his is the face that launched a thousand glittery posters taped to a teenage girl’s walls and ceiling, right next to her dolphin art.” He has a long career ahead of him.

And not to sound like I’m justifying a loss or acting like the battered wife/husband, but Adam losing might be the best thing to happen to him. As I was fine with the competition going either way (with me, of course, leaning toward an Adam win), I considered Adam’s future, and while he is still to cut an album for 19 Entertainment, he will be free of much of the Idol machine that tends to crush people. He has a better chance of making the album that he wants to make (for one, without Kara’s crappy song), he can more easily pursue acting on stage and screen if that is what he so chooses, and he can be a music star and not have to live up to or live down the label of being an American Idol, a label that often turns a lot of people off in the actual real world. And yes, I think if they make a movie version of Wicked, they’d be insane not to cast him as Fiyero. Some have said he would overdo the role. 1.) From the clips of him understudying as Fiyero, he does it just fine, thank you. 2.) If he does overdo it, it’ll definitely help define a horribly underwritten character in an overrated musical. He could potentially save the entire second half of the story.

I think that’s about it. What other stuff can I say to wrap this up?

Had Allison been in the Top 3 instead of Danny, perhaps Adam may have had a chance to grab her votes and win in the finale had she been voted out. The number of votes that would have gone to her despite her losing would have been far greater than her Top 4 votes, which in turn got Danny out in the actual Top 3.

I think Kara is a great judge and should stick around. She is the only one besides Simon who gives actual friggin’ advice to the contestants, advice that is mostly useful, instead of just being judgmental. She knows what she’s talking about, and I don’t know how that strikes most of you out there as “annoying.”

This is without much hindsight, but I think the finale was definitely one of the best they’ve ever had. And yes, they have done awards in the past. If you thought this was new, either you haven’t watched the show for too long, or you’re an idiot. But I will leave most of the finale talk to my wife. But I do have something to say to the Black Eyed Peas. If you guys really have that “future sound” and are “so 3008,” then why does your #1 hit single sound like techno music from 15 years ago?

I am, above all else, extremely grateful that the top two contestants were exciting, interesting, evocative and [mostly] original. It’s tough to get that on Idol, so despite my misgivings with the results, glad that this show can still surprise me. This was one of the best top 12/13s in the show’s history, with far more talented individuals holding on and only a few non-talented ones eking by. It’s nice to be able to pick on a singer for subtleties instead of just simply declaring that they’re bad, and sparking discussion, even on a show as cookie-cutter as this, is never bad.

And now, it’s time for So You Think You Can Dance, which is, in a lot of ways, a better overall show than American Idol. But if FOX’s decision to also create a fall version of the show right after this summer season ends up overplaying and killing the entire program, I’m going to be pissed.

The Wife:

I’m going to summarize my feelings about Adam Lambert’s strange un-victory per a text message I sent to my friend Magen last night after she had long since gone to bed over in DC:


“Fsdfhsdfgsdfshvgyugsdufh! I die. That outfit was bananas! I was clearly not mature enough to handle that fantasy duet between Adam and KISS because all I did was squee and figdet and wonder where the hell those epaulettes and those fucking boots came from. This was a great finale. KISS. Queen. Allison and Cyndi lauper. Amazing. Even though Adam didn’t win, I cannot wait to buy tickets on his first tour. He is now free to make the gayest, rockingest record ever, and no one will stop him. Glambert saved. Stevecrest out.”


As my husband mentioned above, I think Adam is better off without the Idol win, although I’d have liked him to have it because, well, I love him. He and Kris will both sell records and will both have long careers, and I can have no ill-will toward someone like Kris who is so humble that he conceded to America that he thought his competitor deserved the win more than he did. Both men are winners in my book, really. So now, let me talk about how thoroughly pleased I was with the finale, despite an outcome that didn’t actually go my way.

Idol Awards

First of all, I came late into the Idol game, having only watched since season 6, so the Idol awards were odd to me, but I actually found them pretty enjoyable over all. I never thought I’d be so happy to see Norman Gentle aka Nick Mitchell, and while I hated the idea of him being on Idol, he is funny. And weird. And I’d definitely see his cabaret show, so I’m glad to be reminded of why he’s likeable. I was not happy to see Bikini Girl, especially because she’s so tan now that she looks like she’s been living in South Florida since she was 22 and is now 60. Someone needs to give her the message that pale is the new tan . . . and someone kind of did, actually. Kara. Although I’m bothered by Kara’s pop culture solipcisms, I like her as a judge, and now I like her even more as a singer. Bikini Girl cannot sing at all by comparison and I now know that Kara also looks better in a bikini than bikini girl. She has some damn hard abs, that Kara DioGuardi. I would not be surprised if Bikini Girl has either tried to kill herself or developed an eating disorder after being upstaged by a woman in her 30s who sings better and has a nicer body than she does. As for Tatiana Del Toro . . . I do not know if that was real or not and I don’t care because watching security guards chase that crazy bitch around the stage was funny as hell!

I mean, really, Bikini Girl got nothing on this.

I mean, really, Bikini Girl got nothing on this.

Fantasy Duets!

  • I love that Allison Iraheta got to sing one of my favorite songs ever, “Time After Time,” with Cyndi Lauper. I also love that Cyndi plays the dulcimer. She just gets more amazing every damn day.
  • Kris Allen and Keith Urban are very similar in that they both have scruffy facial hair, play guitar, have a country twang and have blonde wives. I liked this duet because it proved that Kris Allen can easily transition into a country-rock artist if he ever wanted to.
  • Kris + Adam + Surviving Members of Queen = truly spectacular way to end the show. This is the point where I kind of stopped caring which one of them won because I saw that they had such an amazing camraderie while singing “We Are the Champions.” It was clear to me that these guys were having the fucking time of their lives, and that’s exactly what I want to see on Idol. Plus, I enjoyed watching Adam touch the guitarist several times during the performance, as though he couldn’t believe he was singing with fucking Queen. That’s probably what I would have done if I were singing with Cyndi Lauper.
  • But, of course, there was no greater fantasy duet (although, really, not a duet) than Adam Lambert in his King Henry VIII-from-Space outfit with the blinged out epaulettes and the giant gold platform boots he clearly borrowed from Gene Simmons’ closet singing with KISS. Magen was right; I straight up died. I mean, this performance was just the cat’s fucking pajamas for me. I had to cover half my face with a blanket because I was so excited that it was incredibly difficult to not ruin the whole performance with squeals of joy. I don’t even like KISS all that much, but Adam singing with KISS I FUCKING ADORED. I mean, this was a perfect moment for him and he performed the hell out of it, as he does with everything. If I had to pick a favorite moment from this performance, though, it would be when he delicately raised his eyebrow in innuendo when he sang the line “Me and the boys will be playing all night.” Oh, I know, honey. And I wouldn’t have you any other way.
Other performances:
  • At first, I hated the fact that the whole American Idol gang was going to sing Pink’s “So What?” as I adore Pink and never want to hear her stuff sung by anyone else, but I think this was one group number that worked really well. It had a ton of energy and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.
  • I do not dislike Megan Joy, but she was kind of very not good in her duet with Michael Sarver over Steve Martin’s banjo music. Moreover, while I’m sure Steve was happy to be there, I don’t think he was happy to hear “Pretty Flowers” sung the way those two completely oversang it. My fantasy duet for that song? Dolly Parton and Anoop Desai.
  • Speaking of Anoop, I loved that he and Alexis Grace got to do Jason Mraz right by singing the intro solos to “I’m Yours.” That said, this group performance of the song with Mraz was way better than when one third of the Top 36 tried to sing it back when there was a Top 36.
  • Lil Rounds and Queen Latifah? Strangely disappointing. Although I should note that during this number, I sang a bit of “When You’re Good to Mama” from Chicago to my cat. And I changed the words to be about my cat. That’s how uninteresting this number was.
  • The minute Fergie came on, I screamed, “SING ‘BE ITALIAN’!” because she’s playing Sereghina the Whore in Rob Marshall’s adaptation of Nine and I all kinds of love her super minor-keyed version of a song that, in the stage show, is very bright and somehow not about molestation at all. Here’s the Nine trailer, so you can hear it and be just as excited as I am:
  • But once the Black Eyed Peas came on, I became very frightened of their strange cybertronic zebra dancers. Why were they putting their feet in will.i.am’s crotch? Not okay! (I bet that was choreographed by Shane Sparks, though.)
Fashion notes!
  • I’ve already talked about Adam’s KISS outfit, but in case you didn’t catch it, I fucking loved it. I die. I channel Rachel Zoe and I die.
  • Alexis Grace got to wear two pairs of very sexy over-the-knee boots. She is one hot mama.
  • Another hot mama? Adam Lambert’s mom, who gets a million extra cuteness points for wearing armwarmers!
  • I was very embarassed for Megan Joy’s pink hot shorts during “Glamorous.”
  • Oh, Lil Rounds. No one knows how to dress you. That top with the strange leaf-like skirt just accentuated your huge booty, and not in a good way. I do not understand why everyone is just a step away from making you into Josephine Baker, as you’ll never, ever be as good of a performer as she was.
  • Allison looked amazing tonight. Staight up.
  • I like that Anoop went for a seersucker jacket as if to say, “I’m from the South and you will all deal with my desire to drink sweet tea from a mason jar, bitches! Get me a fucking mint julep!”
  • Janice Dickinson was totally trashed throughout this whole show, or at least she looked that way.
  • I want my legs to be as shiny and toned as Fergie’s.
  • Matt Giraud looked his best during his Santana number. I think Abuelito shirts are really a good look for him, and they work with his obsession with cubano fedoras.
  • It was very bold of Rod Stewart to pair the Coach leather that is his skin with that faux Burbury jacket.
All of that stuff ads up to a wonderful two hours of television. I’ve been saying it all season, but I’ll reiterate: I can’t wait to see Adam Lambert on Broadway someday. If Constantine Maroulis can get nominated for a Tony for Rock of Ages (and let me say that I saw him in Rent pre-Idol, and while I thought he was the most Roger-looking Roger I’ve ever seen, he certainly wasn’t the best), surely Adam Lambert will one day win one. I will see him in anything. I will follow his ass around the country like my mother-in-law does with Clay Aiken because while he may not be the American Idol, he is my American Idol.


The Husband:

Well, that was a bizarre week. Both overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time — as Ten Things I Hate About You pointed out, you can’t merely be just “whelmed,” except in Europe — the week taught me, more than anything, that this is a strange show, and America is a fickle bitch.

Predictions I was wrong about:

Jorge + America = Success

Despite his protests in song, the sun did, in fact, go down on Jorge and he had to say goodbye.

Despite his protests in song, the sun did, in fact, go down on Jorge and he had to say goodbye.

I was really pulling for this guy to go far, where certain portions of the country would learn to better accept things they don’t always understand, things such as minorities, other languages and passion in performance. Hell, I actually liked Jorge’s performance quite a bit, and definitely rank it in the top 5 of the week. But he didn’t inspire anybody, and that was the problem. My plan to turn this season of American Idol into a Kumbaya circle of understanding and world harmony has fallen apart. Blimey. The first out of this week’s two contestants to go to the land of Vanessa Olivarez and David Hernandez.

A Danny Gokey Backlash

Now, there’s plenty of time for Mr. Gokey to become the enemy of America with his over-reliance on personality instead of just doing some good performing, but I didn’t necessarily expect that, according to DialIdol.com, he’d be the top vote-earner of the night. I’m not jumping on the “I hate Danny Gokey” bandwagon, though. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Boy’s got some major chops. But do I feel his heart and soul with every note? With his story, I probably should, but I don’t. I need to get that he’s here in the competition to win based on him and not his story. But so far, I’m not throwing any votes his way.

America Will Hate Kris Allen And Realize Their Mistake

Look how cold he is without a jacket!

Look how cold he is without a jacket!

I don’t know why Kris Allen got into the Top 13, and I don’t know why people liked his performance of “Remember The Time” this week. People say he’s Jason Mraz-esque. No. Jason Mraz is brilliant. Kris is a cute guy who undersings everything and somehow convinced the country that his guitar bumbling was actually something to vote for and praise. Show me a star, goddamn it, because I’m not seeing it.

Anoop Desei Will Rock You All This Week

Man, his “Beat It” was fucking weird, wasn’t it? I think it got into his head that his Wild Card performance of “My Prerogative” was what got him pushed into the Top 13, and kept with the same fake badassery. No, sir. You got through from your earlier performances, soulful and unexpected. I like unexpected. But not this unexpected.

(A similar mistake happened in s3, when Jon Peter Lewis got into the Top 12 with his Wild Card performance of “A Little Less Conversation,” only to be voted off weeks later doing another Elvis song, “Jailhouse Rock.”)

America Will Hate Megan Joy [Corkrey] And Her Mere Existence

Wow, not even getting saddled with “Rockin’ Robin” could do this girl in. Has she gained some fan base that is currently completely quiet on the Internet? Did everybody come to the same realization that, with about 85% certainty, Megan probably did a coin toss with somebody else for another MJ song — “P.Y.T.” or more likely a more bluesy version of “I’ll Be There.”

Jasmine Would Suck

Actually, Jasmine did better than I expected with “I’ll Be There” — definitely one of the most gorgeous songs from an entirely pre-packaged kid group — but she suffered from Lisa Tucker disease (i.e. too young to perform like a professional) and was the other contestant of the two this week to be eliminated. Or, to be more esoteric, she was the Leah LaBelle Wild Card fail of season 8.

(Clearly, based on all my trivia, s3 was a very important season for me in becoming an Idol maniac.)

Extra Note: Oh, and I actually really love the new Judges Veto twist, but will probably have far better things to say about it when it is used or at least when there’s more dramatic tension on the show.

The Wife:

Because I write the modeling blogs around these parts, my contribution to American Idol is to critique/make fun of how these artists “package” themselves, to borrow Kara DioGuardi’s favorite phrase. So to the Idol glam squad I pose this question: What the fuck, ya’ll?


Can someone please hire him to be in the next Twilight movie? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaase?Can someone please hire him to be in the next Twilight movie? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaase?

They spent all their money buying Matt Giraud and Vampire Lamb Bear those fabulous leather jackets and kind of let the girls all destroy themselves. In fact, every dude but Kris Allen had the benefit of a cool jacket, although I know some are tired of the military-inspired outwear donned by Scott and Anoop this week. I maintain my long-stated position that a well-tailored jacket completes an outfit, so for Kris Allen to be the only jacketless guy only cemented my thoughts that he shouldn’t be here. I, too, am in the internet minority in hating his guitar rendition of “Remember the Time,” a song I admittedly do not know at all but hated on a folk guitar. Had he come out in a jacket and with an electric guitar, things might have been different. He is pretty adorable, I’ll give him that. But I have to believe in the power of the jacket to lock in a look. And from the jackets chosen, I know that Michael Sarver wants to be a cool but sensitive tough guy, Matt Giraud wants to be a soulful, blusey rocker (brushed leather, oooooh) and Vampire Lamb Bear wants to be Freddie Mercury. I mean, seriously, he had on steel blue leather with a mandarin collar. Where did the glam squad find that? That thing was the best piece in the whole show tonight.

And then there are the girls, two of whom worked in their style and while the other two came across as complete disasters. It’s evident to me that Alison Iraheta told the glam squad to go fuck themselves, because she came out looking like any kid who likes to go smoke cigarettes by the dumpsters at their high school: skinny jeans, ill-placed belt, lots of greys and blacks. I wouldn’t say this was a killer outfit, as I have a general disdain for anything that comes from Urban Outfitters, but at least it made sense with who she is. I want more Cyndi Lauper-esque stuff out of her, though. More like what she wore for her Top 36 performance.

I'm going to write to EW Style Hunter to find me this crazy-ass dress.

I'm going to write to EW Style Hunter to find me this crazy-ass dress.

The red dress with the macrame straps on Megan Joy was definitely her best outfit yet. She definitely stepped on the red hot mama train with this little number, which was cute, but also too quirky for most people to like. That dress is exactly like the person who wore it and its a perfect statement about who she is as an artist. Over at Best Week Ever, Michelle Collins wrote that she should be the lead singer of a band called “Quirky Quirk Quirk and the Twees.” I agree, and I totally want her to front some kind of swingin’ indie rockabilly band, and possibily have a threesome with Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard, for there can be no more twee a marriage than their marriage will be, unless they have regular sex with Megan Joy Corkrey. Also, I would totally wear that red dress. Just sayin’.

And then there was that strange pink creation that found its way on to poor Jasmine Murray. I can’t even adequately explain why I hate it. I just do. It did absolutely nothing for her, except maybe make her look like she was an extra on Swingtown. And even then, Lana Parilla wouldn’t go anywhere near that dress. Bringing up the rear, literally, was Lil Rounds, who doesn’t understand that when you’ve got a booty like that you cannot put it in tapered white pants! Why did the glam squad let her get away with this? Those pants were doing her no favors, nor was that top, which might have worked if someone had decided to cut off the ruffle sleeve. If Jasmine Murray was on her way to a 70s-themed party, then Lil Rounds was on her way to a high school dance in a John Hughes movie. I fail to understand how people who are paid to make other people look good let these disasters happen. Not to mention that neither of these outfits complemented the song choice or said anything about these ladies as artists.

Why, God, why????????

Why, God, why????????

The glam squad most succeeded with Alexis Grace, whose stirring performance of “Dirty Diana” is still earworming its way into my brain as I write this. Her black exposed-zipper onesie didn’t say much to me about who Alexis is, but it further proved to me that she’s the only person on this show who understands costuming herself for a performance. She sang her Aretha song weeks ago in a slip and trashy heels, like a hooker who’d been kicked to the curb, which fit the character of the song. When she had to do that Jason Mraz group number, she actually dressed up like a lady version of Mraz. And this week, given a song about a very naughty lady who works in the sex industry, she dressed like a dancer in a production of Cabaret. The girl is a performer. She gets it.

The Husband:

Wow. What a crazy-ass roller coaster week. America shows that maybe it can be trusted slightly more with their Top 12 picks (although they still have some ‘splainin’ to do), the Group 3 performances end up being startlingly good, and the judges, while making some strange picks as to who they wanted to see again for the Wild Card round, made some darn good decisions of their own.

But oh man, it’s going to be a heavily male-centric final group, and I can only attribute that, as I did last week, to the show’s main voting constituency — hormonal teenage girls. It’s a sausage fest. A non-threatening, asexual sausage fest.

But, as I was saying, this was the week where the contestants really stood out, and at least half of the 12 performances could actually be classified as “good” or above. Gee, what a concept.

In which case, I don’t really need to tell you who did poorly, since I think it’s quite obvious to everybody, and I need only to mention their names (Taylor Vaifanua, Aianna Afsar, Nathaniel Marshall) and get shudders from you readers.

Actually, I really have to call out Nathaniel Marshall for giving the semifinals one truly awful performance, where he took one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums (“I Would Do Anything For Love” from Meat Loaf’s classic 90s record Bat Out Of Hell 2: Back Into Hell) and turned it, as I wrote down but also said by TVSquad, into a Donna Summer song. What a trashy undoing of a powerful song. Nathaniel, without question, should be ashamed.

Idol's Group Three runs hot and cold.

Idol's Group Three runs hot and cold.

So who did a good job, and who did a great job?

Good

Ju’not Joyner (“Hey There Delilah”): While I am never big on people reusing songs, it’s completely understandable if it’s their signature song from earlier rounds (much like Kimberley Locke’s version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” that got her into the Top 12 over Clay Aiken pre-Wild Card), and I thought for a moment that I’d really like Ju’not in the Top 12 just to shake things up. Alas, he did not get voted through, nor was he brought back for the Wild Card.

Felicia Barton (“No One”): An interesting selection from an interesting person who, unfortunately, just couldn’t get enough screentime thanks to her being a last-minute replacement in the Top 36. I hate it when contestants sing Alicia Keyes (they’re never going to measure up), and Felicia’s performance definitely got messier at it progressed, but I thought she was a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, she did not make it through and, also, was not brought back.

Scott MacIntyre (“Mandolin Rain”): So here’s the deal. I think that if he weren’t legally blind, that voice wouldn’t have been strong enough to really make much of an impression, but he has a story and a “handicap,” and his heart more than made up for some of his vocal shortcomings. He’s a darn good performer, and I appreciate that, and I appreciate that he “sailed on through” to the Top 12.

Lil Rounds (“Be Without You”): I’m kind of sick of this Idol type, even if I’m quite aware that Lil is trying to be her own person. I mean, she’s basically being touted as Tamyra and La Toya and Trenyce and Syesha, and maybe I’m just finally done with that spot that always seems to be open in the Top 12 for eight years now, but I can’t deny the fact that she has a pretty impeccable voice. But she’s not inspiring joy out of me. Just respect.

Kristen McNamara (“Give Me One Reason”): I don’t know why she chose to do such a sped-up version of the song, ended up with some majorly garbled words, but this NorCal resident gave a cool Kimberly Caldwell vibe that I wish had made more of an impression on America.

Great

Jorge Nuñez “(Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”): I think we may be in for something very special with this bilingual singer. We got a small bit of comment huff a few weeks ago for defending Jorge’s accent on this blog, but like Simon we were aware then that it wouldn’t be a problem, and that with the right song and the right amount of heart it doesn’t matter if he says a word differently here or there. He will do wonders for the American Latino/Chicano community merely by his presence in the Top 12, but the best thing is that he’s a great singer to boot. He could demolish the rest of the competition, and I’m fine with that assessment.

So Jorge, Lil and Scott made it through, which unfortunately left some darn good people in the dust, a fact made worse by the fact that no remaining Group 3 contestants were brought back for the Wild Card round. Why? So the judges could put insane people like Tatiana or jokes like Von Smith in their spots. (Come on, we know that those spots could have gone to Kristen McNamara and Felicia Barton easily.)

But I’m more than okay with the judges’ final picks for Wild Card. While I think Jasmine Murray will end up being destroyed by her own nerves and lack of professional know-how in the next few weeks, I’m glad to have her youthful energy around and hope she can recapture some of the magic she had during the auditions. Megan Joy Corkrey and Matt Giraud were no-brainers to move through, honestly, giving the show a more bluesy and adult vibe amidst all the pop shenanigans, and I welcome the variety.

But the greatest part of the week was making the Top 12 into a Top 13 by also accepting Anoop Desai, one of this season’s best performers, into the final group. He needs to tone down some of the overwrought drama in his performances, but he’s now the show’s official underdog, dawg.

The “real” competition is just around the corner, so pick up your phone and start voting with the smart part of you instead of the horny part. Don’t forget, the progression of this show actually does affect mainstream pop culture whether you like it or not, and I don’t want another no-talent, pretty-but-bland personality singing to me on the radio. There’s already enough of that.

The Wife:

This was certainly a rollercoaster week on Idol, and I’m still mad about what Nathaniel did to Meat Loaf. Throughout the entire performance, I was hoping that Mr. Aday himself would burst through the back wall, Eddie in RHPS-style, roar in on a hog and kill Nathaniel with a pick axe as the band started playing “What Ever Happened to Saturday Night?” (Ideally, Meat Loaf would sing that song while murdering Nathaniel and then launch into a triumphant rendition of “I Would Do Anything For Love.”) I wish I could describe the look of abject horror on my face, but alas, it is indescribable.

Like my husband, I was sad to see that Kristen McNamara was passed over for a chance at the Wild Card. Instead, they gave her spot to Jesse Langseth, who has a lovely voice, but I cannot call myself a fan of because of her complete inability to produce consonant sounds. Seriously, she is rarely actually saying a word when she sings. I’d have liked to see McNamara go further in this competition. She’s cute like Anna Faris and has a great, powerful voice. And this week, her outfit wasn’t a problem at all, despite what the judges may have said about it. That dress was adorable, totally made by those little pink rosettes on the shoulders.

I still think a lot of the contestants need help styling themselves, Lil Rounds being a prime example. She went from super hot yellow and black cocktail number for performance night to a dowdy black and white dress that would work, maybe, on Alison Iraheta or some other young white kid who shops at vintage stores and Hot Topic. And I only want to see Anoop in the skinny-tie-and-Rufus Humphrey-cardi combo for the rest of his Idol days. So, so happy they put Anoop through. I think the judges made the right choices with the Wild Card contestants they sent through, thought I agree with my husband that they did make some really weird picks for the Wild Card round.

Competition next week! Let’s see if Megan Joy Corkrey learns to move to music!

The Husband:

I have been stuck in bed over the past few days due to an oddly long-lasting cold, so I apologize for the delay in certain stories. Now onto Idol.

I think it’s safe to say that this season hasn’t gone exactly the way we expected it to go.  With the new approach to semifinals, giving us 36 contestants instead of 24, we’re seeing the biggest turnaround in Idol history. It’s made for some interesting shows over the last couple weeks, and it has certainly upped the drama for semifinals, a segment of the show that is usually quite lacking in that department, but it’s also causing some problems in my opinion. With this new Keep-Three-Drop-Nine system, we’re seeing now, more than ever, that song choice is everything, and if a contestant makes one, just one, mistake, they are out. From seasons 4-7, they were usually allowed at least one mistake, because we liked the people enough to keep them in. Also, if the ads are correct, then we the people are not even selected our wild cards. In seasons 2-3, we chose one wild card contestant while the judges got one pick each. Now, there are only three spots left, and they presumably will be choosing those.

But the biggest problem isn’t that the “guy” with the highest number of votes and the “girl” with the highest number of votes gets through, but it’s that third spot each week. If the last two weeks are any indication, America cannot be trusted with that spot. The biggest voting block for the show is tween-to-teenage white girls, and that has left us, twice now, with bland but cute white boys in those spots instead of somebody with unique talent.

And now I simply hope that the wild card round will go in my favor and pick up the stray Anoop from week 1 and Megan Joy Corkrey from week 2. But I can’t ignore that both made some odd singing choices.

What was good last week?

The Good

  • Allison Iraheta (“Alone”): For the first time in the semi-finals, a performance gave me chills. Virtually coming out of nowhere, this odd-looking 16-year-old SoCal girl came onstage and, to borrow a Dawgism, blew it out the box. I maintain that, with very few exceptions, nobody under 21 should sing Heart’s gut-wrenching song of passion and longing, but she turned it into the season’s first 100% performance. Great stage presence, great vocal control, great emotion. Definitely the best “rocker” chick in a very long time. I hope she lasts longer than s7’s Amanda. Paula called her “seasoned,” and for once she’s right on the money.
  • Megan Joy Corkrey (“Put Your Records On”): Okay, it was a little too careful and a little too precise, but this is what I’m talking about. We already know how good she is, and aside from a few issues, she was damn good, and a helluva lot better than Kris Allen, who got through simply for choosing a MJ song and looking cute. Even Simon thinks that America should have voted for Megan (or is it Megan Joy now?), and I fear for the country’s short-term memory loss. She’s got a damn good voice, and that’s the best place to start. Because looks should at least come third in picking somebody.
  • Jesse Langseth (“Bette Davis Eyes”): Yes, I’m going to get some shit for this, because holy hell did Jesse forget to enunciate most of the words, but between a great song selection (no, the original hit doesn’t have a lot of range, but one could make it that way quite easily) and being incredibly unique (something this show needs right now), I liked her quite a bit. I’ve said before that female jazz singers don’t last, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to see one last. Yes, Kara, it was risky, but it was also cool and different.
  • Adam Lambert (“Satisfaction”): It was wild and crazy, and it was over-the-top like what, but you have to admit that it was damned good. Pulling a Constantine Maroulis, Adam let loose and showed that a contestant’s best shot for votes as far as performance is concerned is to take a rather simple and very well-known song and make it theirs. This is what I’m talking about, how to take a normal song and give it range. It is, in short, Lamtastic. I’d be curious in the future to see how he takes on a quieter song, though.
I think every woman in America, plus some gay men and dudes with man crushes, would be happy to give Adam the satisfaction he so desires.

I think every woman in America, plus some gay men and dudes with man crushes, would be happy to give Adam the satisfaction he so desires.

The Good, But Not For This Show

  • Nick Mitchell (“And I Am Tellling You I’m Not Going”): I think I like Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle more than most people, because I know there’s actually a good voice underneath all the performing and characterization. I’m glad he got American Idol exposure, but it was the right time for him to go away. What do I think? I think that he should audition for Last Comic Standing next season. I laughed my ass off during his performance, and I think his pseudo-drag act would be great material for the NBC show. He clearly has a sense of humor about himself, so why not?

The Not So Good

  • Jasmine Murray (“Love Song”) and Jeanine Vailes (“This Love”): Good singers, but they screwed the pooch with their song selections, putting zero personality into songs that 100% call for it. I’m sad especially for the promising Jasmine.
  • Matt Breitzke (“If You Could Only See”): I didn’t like him to begin with, and I feel he was only selected to cater to a certain demographic, and thankfully that demographic didn’t vote him through. Snooze.

The rest were actually somewhere in the middle, doing better than last week’s worst but ending up below the overall quality of the first batch in week 1 of semifinals. They just forgot to stand out. Matt Giraud messed up by picking a song (“Vida La Vida”) that is known more for its bombastic instrumental side and its message than its notes, and Kai Kalama did what Simon hated and became pretty much a wedding singer.

So Allison, Kris and Adam are through. Now that I type through the contestants, I’m not as mad at the final selection than I was Thursday night, but I still think that both Kris Allen from this week and Michael Sarver from week 1 should not be in the Top 12.

Oh well.

The Wife:

I think it was obvious from the third bar of “Satisfaction” that Adam Lambert was going through. I made a cat sound at the TV and I think I head the sound of panties dropping all across the country. He raped me with his eyes, and I liked it. His was the only performance of the night that I thought was truly awesome. He’s a born showman. And yes, he can be bombastic and theatrical, but I think the judges (especially Simon) tend to forget that musical theatre songs are written in such a way as to make the audience emote when they’re sung well. My friend Charlie Michael Levy is such a talented showman that he can make me cry when he sings something so ridiculous as “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from The Sound of Music. A great performer can do that. And Lambert is that kind of performer. I do appreciate, however, that he is working on toning it down to appeal to a broader non-musical theatre-understand audience. He’s smart. And he’s going to go far even if he doesn’t win.

Alison Iraheta is the only contestant so far to pass my styling test. The girl looks like she walked straight out of Hot Topic, but the look works for her and it matches her voice. This is more than I can say for Megan Joy Corkrey, whom I adore, but who really needs a stylist to keep her out of strange white lacey contraptions. In her official Idol photo, she’s wearing some kind of jumper with a white lace tee under it, and on Wednesday, she performed wearing a cute white dress paired with white tights. What? Megan, you are 23 and have the soulful voice of a woman much older. You chose the right song with “Put Your Records On” (which, for the record, I said she should sing next the first time I heard her open her mouth), but you need to stop dressing like a twelve year old girl playing in mommy’s closet. She’s pretty, yes, but her inability to dress herself detracts from her beauty. And detracting from your beauty detracts from your votes.

It's like she's trying to be Paula in the 80s.

It's like she's trying to be Paula in the 80s.

She also hurt herself by having absolutely none of the stage presence of Alison Iraheta or Adam Lambert. Iraheta knew what to do with her arms on stage, unlike Janine, who fluttered her arms around like an epileptic butterfly, and unlike Megan Joy, who basically just shimmied her shoulders whenever she thought she was being too still. A stylist and a performance coach will go a long way for Megan Joy. I hope she gets the chance. I hope the judges choose her as a Wildcard. Her and Anoop. I can’t go on without Anoop.